Motel 6 Sued for Passing On Guest Information to ICE Immigration Officials
Last week Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed suit against the budget chain Motel 6 for the systematic and daily practice of employees handing over guests’ personal information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities.
Ferguson told reporters that there were widespread practices at multiple Motel 6 locations where employees handed over the names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, license-plate numbers and room numbers of at least 9,000 guests to immigration officials, without warrants. The lawsuit, followed by an investigation, claims the hotel chain violated state and federal laws that protect consumers and those that guard against discrimination, as well as the state constitution.
The company later issued a directive to each of their 1,400 locations nationwide, “making it clear that they are prohibited from voluntarily providing daily guest lists” to ICE.
- S. Ends Protections for Salvadoran Immigrants, Sparking Fear
The Trump administration’s decision to end special protections for about 200,0000 Salvadoran immigrants filled many Salvadoran families with dread Monday, raising the possibility that they will be forced to abandon their roots in the U.S. and return to a violent homeland they have not known for years, even decades.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gave Salvadorans with temporary protected status until Sept. 9, 2019, to leave the United States or face deportation. The decision, while not surprising, was a severe blow to Salvadorans in New York, Houston, San Francisco and other major cities that have welcomed them since at least the 1980s.
Nielsen, who faced a Monday deadline on another extension, concluded that El Salvador has received significant international aid to recover from the earthquake, and homes, schools and hospitals there have been rebuilt.
Pelosi Is Optimistic About Agreement On Budget
Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi said Monday that she remains optimistic about potential agreements with Washington Republicans on the budget and immigration, though she is skeptical that an upcoming White House meeting on immigration will produce a breakthrough.
The California lawmaker told reporters in her Capitol office that “we just have to come together and we will” on a budget pact to boost funding for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies, which face a severe budget crunch otherwise.
She also said that there’s room for compromise on immigration, border security and stricter rules sought by Republicans regarding preferential treatment for the relatives of legal immigrants who are seeking to join them in the U.S.
Immigration Impasse Draws Democrats, Trump Closer to Shutdown Showdown
The chances of an immigration-fueled shutdown are growing after Democrats in recent days have rejected a long list of President Trump’s border and interior security demands.
Both sides are eyeing a meeting between Trump and a bipartisan group of congressional negotiators this week as the chance to make progress, but Democrats have grown increasingly strident in their complaints about the president’s stance.
Trump said this weekend that the border wall must be part of any final deal, and other Republicans have drawn similar lines around changing the law that allows a single immigrant to sponsor extended family members in a chain of migration.
Orange County Ends Immigration Program as California Becomes “Sanctuary”
Orange County joined the rest of the state when it stopped its involvement in a federal program that cracked down on immigrants in the U.S. illegally, according to the Los Angeles Times. The program “allowed Orange County deputies to act as immigration agents in its jail.”
The Los Angeles Times reported the move comes as California officially declared itself a “sanctuary state” with the passage of Senate Bill 54 despite Orange County’s conservative values.
Trump’s Hard Line on Immigration Ruffles Farmers Short on Labor
Rural America turned out for President Donald Trump in the election, but as farmers get ready to hear him speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference on Monday, one issue looms large: a shortage of workers.
The Trump Administration’s hardline stance on immigration and an increased focus on deportations have farmers worried that they won’t be able to find workers to harvest their crops. It’s one of a few key issues, along with trade, that run counter to farmers’ interests.
About a quarter of the U.S. farm workforce, more than 300,000 people, don’t have valid immigration papers, according to a 2009 survey by the Pew Hispanic Center. Other studies suggest the number may be more than 1 million and as much as 70% of all workers. A policy focused on closing the border could shift 61 percent of U.S. fruit production to other countries and send jobs to nearby nations such as Mexico, according to a 2014 study commissioned by the federation.
Refugee Admissions Lowest in Recent Years Thanks to Trump Immigration Crackdown
The U.S. admitted significantly fewer refugees in the first three months of fiscal year 2018 as the Trump administration implemented tougher vetting procedures and banned refugees from countries generating most of them.
The Wall Street Journal reported that 5,000 refugees were admitted to the country during the months of October, November and December in contrast with the 25,671 refugees admitted in the same period during the Obama administration. If the current rate of admission continues, the number of people given asylum in the U.S. will not reach the 2018 refugee ceiling of 45,000 set up by President Trump last year.
The downfall of the number of refugees admitted indicate the broader effect of the administration’s crackdown on immigration, including the controversial decision to suspend admission from 11 countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, and creating tougher screening process of applicants.
Top Republican Says Democrats Are Holding Spending Deal Hostage Over Immigration
GOP Senator John Cornyn of Texas accused Democrats of holding “hostage” any agreement on a spending bill to prevent a government shutdown until they get assurances that young undocumented immigrants will be shielded from deportation.
Speaking to reporters a day before a White House meeting on immigration Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican leader, said Democrats won’t agree to new spending caps for domestic and defense programs that are key to writing a broad spending bill for this fiscal year.
In Reversal, Anti-Immigration Groups Are Open to Deal to Let 800,000 Dreamers Stay
As Congress and the White House negotiate a deal to legalize nearly 800,000 undocumented Dreamers brought to the U.S. as children, they aren’t facing the usual pressure from hardline groups lobbying for lower immigration levels.
Congressional leaders have until March 5 to restore deportation protections and work permits for Dreamers after President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established by President Barack Obama. Negotiations resume Tuesday at a White House meeting with Trump and congressional leaders.
Fearful of Deportation, Unauthorized Immigrants in Salt Lake City Are Not Reporting Crime, Police Chief Says
Since Donald Trump won the Republican Party nomination for president after deriding Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, reports of some types of criminal activity from the Latino community to Salt Lake City police have dropped off significantly.
Police Chief Mike Brown fears that undocumented immigrants have receded into the shadows for fear of being deported.
Brown cited a police department analysis of recent data, which comes as a new national report reveals that there are long-term benefits to working with the immigrant community, particularly undocumented immigrants who otherwise may be too frightened to interact with law enforcement.